Bagley faculty members, alumna participate in award-winning environmental research project

July 13, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss. — A national research consortium has honored a Bagley College of Engineering professor for his efforts on a NASA environmental project.

Civil and environmental engineering assistant professor Farshid Vahedifard was a part of NASA’s Surface Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite project that earned the Interagency Partnership Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

The award recognizes a team of scientists and engineers from different federal laboratories who have collaborated to accomplish outstanding work in transferring technology. Team representatives from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. military and the U.S. Geological Survey were also honored during FLC’s national conference for work with the SMAP Early Adopters program.

“It’s great to be a part of the team receiving this prestigious national award,” said Vahedifard.

The award-winning project is a satellite that will orbit Earth’s surface and measure the amount of water in the top two inches of soil everywhere on the planet. The Early Adopters program is collecting research in the pre-launch stages and aiding in SMAP product implementation across governmental departments.

Also representing Mississippi State in the Early Adopters program is Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems research professor George Mason and Bagley College of Engineering alumna Maria Stevens, a research geologist at Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC). Stevens combined her efforts on the project with both her MSU thesis and work with ERDC, successfully incorporating SMAP data into a regional ground vehicle mobility analysis.

“The SMAP Early Adopter Program includes close collaboration with several government sectors and their contractors. I’m very glad that we at Mississippi State could also be part of this major effort,” Vahedifard said. “Soil moisture data obtained from SMAP can provide us with tremendous opportunities for use in several applications.”

Civil and environmental engineering department head Dennis Truax said he is proud of the accomplishments of this team and expressed the increasing importance of this work in today’s changing world.

“With the complexity of the problems facing us today, the importance of interdisciplinary, interagency teams is increasingly important, especially if effective and sustainable solutions are to be created,” Truax said.

The FLC is a nationwide network of over 300 federal laboratories, agencies and research centers. It aims to foster commercialization of best practice strategies and opportunities for accelerating federal technologies out of the labs and into the marketplace.

For more information on the FLC, visit

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By: Emile Creel